Why We Homeschool ~ Part 3

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” ~Psalm 1:1-2

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That is an admonition that must be taken seriously.  Scripture clearly speaks to the company we keep.  There are multiple warnings about the type of people with whom we should (and should not) surround ourselves. Each of us becomes like the people with whom we associate.

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We cannot intentionally place our children under “the counsel of the wicked,” “in the way of sinners,” and “in the seat of scoffers” day after day, for the majority of their waking hours, and expect that they will grow to meditate and delight in God’s Word.

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Education is far more than passing on facts and trivia, devoid of religious, moral, and ethical implications. 

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In sending a child to school, parents must recognize that they are surrendering to the teacher full parental authority over the child.  The teacher acts en loco parentis (which is to say, “in the place of the parent”).  “This is full parental authority, not merely the right to convey information and repackage heads.  A teacher, therefore, must have full parental authority during the hours the child is under his discipleship to guide him and respond to him on all levels….Because education is parental, authority must be total; because education is total, authority must be parental.” (Back to the Black Board, pg. 80)

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Jay Adams, the author of the above quote, was speaking of this authority being willingly given within the context of Christian schools, which employ Christian teachers, and utilize a curriculum which operates within the parameters of a biblical worldview.  He goes on to say “Parents must be taught this fact when they enroll their children in a Christian school, should be fully informed about the implications of it, and must intelligently assent to it.  They must be encouraged to let Christian teachers counsel, train, discipline, and teach values, beliefs, habits, and attitudes as well as facts about mathematics, history, etc.” (Back to the Black Board, pg. 80)

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With one slight, but significant change – the removal of the word “Christian” – the government agrees with Dr. Adams.  However, the implications are frightening when that authority is handed over to an educational system that does not share a parent’s biblical convictions and worldview:

In 2005 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found in Fields v. Palmdale School District “that the Meyer-Pierce right [of parents to direct the upbringing of their children] does not exist beyond the threshold of the school door.” 
You read that right. Parental Rights “[do] not exist beyond the threshold of the school door.”
“We conclude that the parents are possessed of no constitutional right to prevent the public schools from providing information on the subject [of sexuality] to their students in any forum or manner they select.” (ParentalRights.org)

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Parents must realize that, when they enroll their children in a school – public, private, Christian, or secular – they are giving over their God-ordained parental responsibility to “counsel, train, discipline, and teach values, beliefs, habits, and attitudes.”

The fact is unavoidable, education is discipleship.

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A disciple is “a person who is a pupil or adherent of the doctrines of another; a follower” (Dictionary.com).

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“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.Luke:6:40

The question is, who is discipling our children? 

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Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord…” ~2 Corinthians 6:14-17

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In light of this passage, how can I, as a believer, yoke myself to, partner with, share, or “delegate” the spiritual, intellectual, and moral training and instruction of my child to a system of unbelievers? 

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I realize that some of the teachers at the local public schools are Christians.  However, the core and content of the curriculum which they are required, by law, to teach is not

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But, isn’t all truth God’s truth?  Yes.  However, not all that is called truth is truth

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“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” ~Isaiah 5:20

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Scripture unequivocally says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).  This did not happen by random chance, over millions of years.  This took place in 6, literal, 24-hour days.  “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:11)  But, which is taught today, as fact, in public school classrooms?

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Scripture also calls homosexuality an abomination.  In Romans 1, God makes clear that this sin is “contrary to nature.”  “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:26-27) However, a top educational advisor to the current presidential administration is the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).  This is an organization which seeks to promote “tolerance” among students of the gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual lifestyles.  It seeks to place resources (some of their book recommendations are for children as young as pre-school) in school classrooms and libraries, to help students understand, tolerate, and accept these deviant choices as normal and natural. 

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Suppose with me for a moment, that I do turn over my parental authority, and with it the responsibility of training and instructing my child to the teachers at the local public school. 

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I would, of course, tell my child to “Listen to your teacher. Respect your teacher. Obey your teacher.”  What happens when the day comes when that same teacher presents a lesson on evolution, or tolerance of homosexuality, or a distorted (but, “politically-correct”) version of history?  Must I now tell my child that their teacher is a liar, and not to be trusted in this area?  But, I will be contradicting my earlier admonition to listen to, respect, and obey.  However, if I do not attempt to address these errors, I am allowing my child to be taught, as fact, a view that is contrary to Scripture, thus calling God a liar.

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Or, like many parents, I would tell her, “Study hard. Get good grades. Be a good steward of your mind and your education.”  But, in that course of study she is taught evolution as fact, or homosexuality as natural and normative.  And, in order to receive a passing grade on the exam, she is required to answer questions affirming the truth and validity of those so-called “facts.”  Do we allow her to potentially fail an exam, thus jeopardizing her academic standing, and risking future scholarship opportunities?  Or, do we allow her to “compromise” – in effect, lie – in order to get the grade?

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“Yes, I know God is everywhere.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  He certainly owns those public school buildings.  But God isn’t honored there.  He isn’t worshipped there.” (The Children Trap, pg. 27)

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See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” ~Colossians 2:8

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I do not want my child(ren) taken captive.  I do not want her imitating and conforming her life to the empty, secular, humanistic, and yes, anti-Christian thinking and examples that are propagated in public school classrooms.

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Did I just say anti-Christian?  Yes, I did.  But, why?

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“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” ~Proverbs 13:20

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“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  Proverbs 1:7

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What is a fool? According to Scripture, “The fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God.’” (Psalm 53:1)  And, an educational system that removes, or worse, denies God is not education – it is pure foolishness.  And it is not Christian.

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Does this mean that children cannot learn from classic works of literature, or secular authors, scholars, scientists, or philosophers?  No.  Their lives and works should be both studied and considered.  But, they should be through the filter of a biblical worldview.  God’s Word must be the plum line which determines the truth of the statements and observations made.  Variation from this standard must be noted and addressed, with careful attention given to the correct, biblical response.

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Sadly, most Christians do not live as though every educational component has a religious or theological foundation.  This is only to their detriment.

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“O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.” ~1 Timothy 6:20-21

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“…Our educational choice has to be based on the fact that God cannot and must not be ignored in the process.  Any educational system that denies the existence, preeminence, and primacy of God is in violation of this biblical principle and is detracting from, rather than contributing to, the discipleship process.” (Family Driven Faith, pg. 123)

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To be continued…

Part 1

Part 2

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8 Comments

Filed under Biblical Womanhood, Homeschooling, Mommyhood, Thinking Biblically

8 Responses to Why We Homeschool ~ Part 3

  1. Both my husband and I appreciate your thoroughness in preparing these posts. You’re setting the bar very high, and that’s a very good thing.

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  3. Finally able to come over and read through the first three parts. Your comprehensive understanding of the issues is well articulated. You have brought up ideas that I have not thought about and am challenged to think through more thoroughly. I hope that many will read these posts and be likewise challenged.

    • @Elle, Thank you for your kind words. My goal is not to incriminate, or belittle those who have made other educational choices. It is as you said, simply to challenge parents (myself included!!) to think biblically about what God’s Word says on these issues.

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  5. Tiffany Hall

    Dear Veronica-

    I am a homeschooling mother of two- and I love it! It is a choice I have made and am excited and confident in:) My husband is also in ministry and our pastor practically hands out ‘Family Driven Faith’.
    That being said, I implore you to think about these things: Initially I see some large problems with telling parents that they’re surrendering total parental authority- which is, over course, not true. Completely false. No child who’s ever gone through school believes that any teacher had the same level of authority over them as their parent! To use these overstepped arguments only discredits your point.

    Also, saying that you have to tell your child that they’re teacher is a liar if they teach evolution is a very dramaticized and misleading approach. I’ve already explained to Calvin, my four year old, that:
    “the people who make the show Dinosaur Train don’t believe the Bible, they do not want Jesus as they’re saviour, and so they believe lies. One of the lies they believe is that God didn’t make the world. It is a sad thing- and they are deceived by Satan because he doesn’t want them to believe in Jesus. We need to pray for them”
    ( Now, of course, we talk about this topic of people being tricked by Satan and by their own hearts often enough that it is not a new concept)

    The problem is not that the teacher is a liar. The problem is that the teacher believes lies!! On the one hand you disciple your child- on the other you teach love, care and compassion along with recognition of the fact that not all adults will speak God’s truth. Teaching your child to be discerning.
    Finally, I implore you to remember that Jesus, our Lord, had an immense amount to say about caring for the poor. In the midst of the homeschool debate it has been forgotten that ‘public’ education, as it were, was designed by the founders (and particularly the desire of many of their wives) to provide education and hope of a better future for the poor and impoverished children of america. The real question is: if public school did not exist, would you take in the children of the mothers who have to work in order to eat? Would You educate their children? …… who would? Honestly? For the women and men who still today are struggling to make a living- it is Compassionate that they’re children recieve an education-if they choose to take it. We forget that homeschooling is sacrifice, AND a luxury. You can only live on one income, if you can LIVE on one income. And thousands in our country and around the world cannot.

    If the Lord has provided you with the means to homeschool, if He has guided your feet down such a path, I rejoice with you! But BE CAREFUL not to go beyond His very gracious standards- this was the great crime of the Pharisees, and though close to the Kingdom, they could not ‘attain’ it, – it allowed to much grace.

    Sincerely,
    Tiffany Hqll

    Much love, Tiff

    • Tiffany~
      Thank you for your comment, and your concern.

      First of all, I did not say that a child will believe that his teacher had the same level of authority over him as his parents. I said that the teacher is acting “en loco parentis”, in the place of the parent. In the absence of the parent, the teacher does act in the place of the parent. They are entrusted – by the parents and by the government or church (if it is a Christian school) – with authority to direct, instruct, protect, and discipline my child, for the duration of time which she is in their care. This is true in public schools, Christian schools, Sunday school, or playdates at a friend’s house. These people are not her parents, but in my absence, by entrusting her to their care, I have given them permission to do many of the things that I, as her parent, would do for her. And, I expect her to obey and respect that authority while she is under it. The student-teacher relationship must be an Ephesians 4:1-6 relationship.

      Most Christian parents would not disagree with this in the context of a Sunday School, a playdate with a friend from a Christian family, or a Christian school classroom, as most parents can be assured that the child is being cared for and instructed in an environment in which the person in the place of authority holds to the same biblical values and convictions.

      But, many Christian parents disagree with the implications of this principle when the context is transferred to the public schools. The problem with that is that the secular schools operate on this very principle. The US Government agrees with Dr. Adams! It has stated that a parent has no rights over what is taught, and in what manner it is taught, after the child crosses the threshold of the classroom.

      Christian parents must be made aware of this. They should be aware of the implications of this principle when put into practice – in any situation in which a child is placed into the care of another, but especially in situations where instruction in faith and morality will occur. And all parents, but Christian parents especially should be actively thinking and discerning in this area. This cannot be an issue of passive assent, or blind faith. Christian parents must, again quoting Dr. Adams, “intelligently assent” to this.

      Secondly, what is a lie? In the simplest terms, it is an untruth, a falsehood.

      Scripture states that God created the world in 6 days. Evolution claims that man evolved from some primordial organism. The rules of logic must prevail. Both cannot be true. By teaching one as unequivocal fact, the other is declared to be false.

      You are right, the teachers are deceived. They have fallen prey to Satan’s lies and deception, and they do need our prayers. I have not claimed, here or elsewhere, that we should do any different.

      You think that I am overly-dramatizing and misleading my child by telling her that a teacher is a liar for teaching a concept that is in every way contrary to Scripture. I would respectfully disagree. Most, I am sure, are not intentionally deceiving their students. Many may even sincerely believe what they are teaching. But sincerity is no substitute for the truth. It is quite possible to be sincerely wrong. And, when naturalistic and atheistic presuppositions are being aggressively peddled as if they were established scientific or historical fact, Christians ought to expose such lies for what they are and oppose them all the more vigorously.

      In response to your last point, yes, Jesus did have much to say about caring for the poor. But, His admonitions were to the believers, to the church – not to the sate.

      And, as to the founding of public education in America, the General Court’s Act of 1642 required that all parents provide for the education of the children under their authority, or face state-imposed fines. This law was difficult to enforce, however, and soon deemed inadequate. In 1647, the General Court passed the “Old Deluder Satan Act” which was significant in the establishment of public education in America. The Old Deluder Satan Act states (in part):
      “It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures…It is therefore ordered, that every township in this jurisdiction after the Lord hath increased them to the number of fifty householders, shall then forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all children as shall resort to him to write and read, whose wages shall be paid either by the parents or masters of such children or the by inhabitants in general by way of supply…”

      Though education was made available to all through this act, attendance was not made compulsory at this time. Parents still had the freedom to educate their own children, or have them tutored elsewhere. (In 1874 the California Legislature made it a penal offense for parents to send their children to private schools without the consent of the local state school trustees.)

      And, although these schools were “public” they were not free. They charged tuition to parents. Some children from poor families were allowed to attend these schools, but most were sent to free schools that were either endowed, or established by religious organizations or churches for their education.

      And, contrary to popular opinion, public education today is not “free.” Far from it! It is funded by the taxpayers. One might even argue, as Voddie Bacuham has done (here) that it is “funded by virtual theft. Homeowners are forced under threat of the loss of their property to pay for the education of other people’s children. How is that appropriate? The government tells everyone that they have to send their children to school, then tells homeowners that they are going to be the ones to foot the bill whether they like it or not. Not only is this a form of welfare, it is also a form of theft.”

      While there are undoubtedly a number of children in the public school system living below the poverty line, there are also a number of children from middle class, affluent, or wealthy families attending as well.

      While home-educating our children may be considered by some to be a luxury, it requires sacrifice. One that I make willingly, to be sure, but it is a sacrifice. While there are exceptional circumstances, many of the families living on 2 incomes are doing so in order to maintain a particular standard of living. (There may be instances in which it is unavoidable and necessary for both husband and wife to work, but this should be temporary, and an exception, not the rule. And, even then, there are still many families in which both parents work, who are committed to homeschooling their children.) 2 cars, large homes, cell phones, numerous extra-curricular activities, and over 300 cable television channels are not necessities. Those are luxuries. I would venture to guess that many Christian families could live on one income if they were willing to exchange one luxury (standard of living) for another (homeschooling). And, there are organizations dedicated to teaching families how to get their financial lives under control, and helping them to bring this area of their lives under submission to God’s Word (Crown Financial Ministries or Financial Peace University ).

      I have, in fact, been asked to homeschool another family’s child. I declined mainly because the request was made in order to allow the wife to continue working a full-time (outside the home) job. This job was not a necessity. It was something she enjoyed, and did not want to quit. But, there are situations in which I would gladly, and willingly homeschool another family’s child(ren).

      My heart breaks for the families who legitimately cannot keep their children home: The widowed father who lost his wife due to cancer or some other horrible illness or accident; the mother and children who were abandoned by a father who has decided to pursue his own sinful pleasure rather than fulfilling his duty and responsibility to care for, protect, and provide for his family.

      And, I strongly believe that doctrinally-sound Christian schools are a necessary and viable alternative for those in circumstances which seem to make homeschooling impossible. Sadly, though, they are often cost-prohibitive for most families. And, I wish that the Church would take seriously the admonition to care for these families, in a way that would not place an undue financial burden on their shoulders. This is why I agree with Jay Adams, and Voddie Baucham, and Robert Thoburn, when they say that the church needs to catch a vision for providing affordable Christian education.

      Honestly, I am a bit unclear as to your need to reference the Pharisees. No, Scripture does not teach “Thou shalt homeschool your child.” However, I do believe that “the entire witness of the Scriptures points to the fact that general education is a function of the Christian home.” It is quite clear as to the type of upbringing, education, and discipleship that our children should be under. I realize that there are many Christian families who have chosen to place their children in the public school system, many of them are dear friends. And, I am sure that their reasons for doing so are as varied and unique as the reasons for homeschooling. As I said when I started this series, my goal and purpose is not to attack, or question the integrity or the salvation of any of them. Do I agree with them? No. Does God offer grace? Yes. Can He use situations that are not ideal in the lives of His children? Yes. However, grace is not license to do whatever we want. My goal in this series was to lay out what I believe Scripture to teach on the topics of education, discipleship, and socialization. And, by so doing call other Christian parents to think biblically about this issue by studying what Scripture actually says, rather than just blindly following the culture, and assuming that this is a “gray area.”

  6. Jennifer in Fl

    Hi- I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your writing. You have eloquently and elaborately articulated my feelings of homeschooling in a way that I would never have the time to put into writing! You are a gifted writer. I am a newly single mom of 3 precious kiddos- aged 5 (girl), 3 & 18 months (boys). I left my husband while pregnant with my 3rd baby and am still dealing with the divorce, which is not final yet. God has put homeschooling on my heart in a major way, yet if I am able to do it, He will have to make a way. My background is in education and the academic part is a no brained to me, but aside from the potential sanity issues (haha- referring to being alone w my kids 24/7!!!!), my ex won’t agree to it (just to disagree with me- he is uninvolved and hasn’t seen kids since last summer) and financially God will have to give me the ability to continue to stay home with my kids. I’m still home with them now but I do not know what the future holds and their father is doing all he can to reduce his income so I will be forced to go back to work sooner than I ever imagined. I thought I would be a stay at home mom forever. I am challenged by your title and your hope to be content with whatever is handed to you. My life has turned out nothing like I ever hoped and i’m still in shock by my reality. Also, it is on my heart to encourage you in your hopes for enlarging your family. I say that only as I feel prompted by God to do so- not because of something you have written. (I’ve not read all of your blog either, so forgive me if this is something you have written on) I do not know what to say to encourage you except that I feel prompted to tell you that God hears your prayers and they are dear to His heart.
    Keep writing girl and stay strong. You are in His hands!!